Lack of empathy and justice as Qatar & FIFA continue to tone down abuses against migrant workers

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Qatar QatarThe FIFA World Cup is unarguably the most controversial football tournament in the history. The games are built over graves of thousands of migrant workers who lost their lives trying to build the very stadiums where the players and fans would become a part of the football games.

With track record of human rights abuses, Qatar has conveniently toned down the abuses against migrant workers who were contracted for the event. And this has been supported by FIFA, the authorities of which continue to ignore all the red flags and hail the mighty games.

FIFA President brushes off migrant workers abuses in Qatar

On May 2, speaking at the conference entitled “Managing the Beautiful Game”, FIFA President gave some shocking statements. Gianni Infantino, President of FIFA, rejected the reports of deaths and hardships faced by thousands of migrant workers in Qatar employed for the tournament.

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Moderator at the conference asked Infantino, “Are you making any sort of commitments to help and support the thousands of families who lost family members who died building these stadiums?” Infantino did not commit to any compensation, signaling that any ground work to prevent deaths of workers in Qatar must have been done before the tournament.

Adding to the insults. Infantino said, “When you give work to somebody, even in hard conditions, you give him dignity and pride.” He later added, “Now 6,000 might have died in other works and so on … [but] FIFA is not the police of the world.”

Infantino has track record of neglecting plight of migrants

When it comes to issue of plight of migrants, Infantino holds a record of rubbishing their pain and suffering. He had said at an earlier event, “We need to find ways to include the whole world to give hope to Africans so that they don’t need to cross the Mediterranean in order to find maybe a better life but, more probably, death in the sea.”

Qatar has failed the migrant workers

Thousands of migrant workers were contracted for the world cup infrastructure as soon as Qatar had bagged the hosting rights. But many workers who came to the country say they had been kept in dark about the “type of work”. What followed next was nothing less than a nightmare.

Forced to work under extreme conditions, no leaves granted, delayed pay or reduced pay, confiscated passports, denied exit visa, forced to live under harsh conditions. These are just few of the many hardships that took away lives of scores of migrant workers in the Gulf country.

When the FIFA and Qatar authorities say they provide “pride and dignity” to migrant workers by offering them jobs, then they need a lecture on true sense of empathy. And when they reject the suffering of migrant workers and their families, they are denying them due justice.

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